CIA Drones DO Violate International Law. It’s About Time Someone Noticed

[The highly touted system for executing selected individuals is really no different from any other terror bomb.  The fact that American operators use these drones to detonate Hellfire missiles in the middle of mosques, or funerals, or in homes, or in crowded vehicles shows a total lack of concern for killing dozens of innocent people who happen to be friends, relatives, or complete strangers to these targeted "miscreants."  Killing a dozen or more for the sake of killing one man is no different than throwing a large pipe-bomb into a crowded theater or church.  The use of large bombs to kill one man instead of acting responsibly within the accepted legal norms, doesn't demonstrate American technological prowess, it demonstrates cowardice.  America has adopted nearly all of Israel's terror tactics in fighting this war, targeted assassination by drone happens to be one of the worst of them.

But we made even bigger mistakes, we embraced the entire  racist Zionist philosophy of oppression that projects the opposition as less than human, mere livestock (goyim).   Seeing those potential victims as cattle or vermin justifies using technological overkill to prevent risking the lives of any soldiers while exterminating them.   The notion that American or Israeli troops' lives are more valuable than the lives of the innocent people they kill is an ugly racist policy.   It must be easier for the little geeks in military uniforms playing with their joysticks in Nevada to murder dozens of Pakistanis if they dehumanize their targets, as cattle, or Hajis, or towelheads.

Pakistanis and Palestinians are humans beings, no different from the racist American and Israeli supremacists who plot their deaths to wage a fake war of terror.  Think of the outrage that would be vented across this country if the Taliban or the Iraqis had nearly invisible little robot planes and they were lobbing bombs into military barracks, or into our churches.]

US drone strikes may break international law: UN

(AFP) – 10 hours ago

UNITED NATIONS — US drone strikes against suspected terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan could be breaking international laws against summary executions, the UN’s top investigator of such crimes said.

“The problem with the United States is that it is making an increased use of drones/Predators (which are) particularly prominently used now in relation to Pakistan and Afghanistan,” UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Philip Alston told a press conference.

“My concern is that drones/Predators are being operated in a framework which may well violate international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” he said.

US strikes with remote-controlled aircraft against Al-Qaeda and Taliban targets in Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan have often resulted in civilian deaths and drawn bitter criticism from local populations.

“The onus is really on the United States government to reveal more about the ways in which it makes sure that arbitrary extrajudicial executions aren’t in fact being carried out through the use of these weapons,” he added.

Alston said he presented a report on the matter to the UN General Assembly.

He urged the United States to be more forthright about how and when it uses drone aircraft, something about which the US Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) usually keep silent.

“We need the United States to be more up front and say, ‘OK, we’re willing to discuss some aspects of this program,’ otherwise you have the really problematic bottom line that the CIA is running a program that is killing significant numbers of people and there is absolutely no accountability in terms of the relevant international laws,” Alston said.

Since August 2008, around 70 strikes by unmanned aircraft have killed close to 600 people in northwestern Pakistan.

“I would like to know the legal basis upon which the United States is operating, in other words… who is running the program, what accountability mechanisms are in place in relation to that,” Alston said.

“Secondly, what precautions the United States is taking to ensure that these weapons are used strictly for purposes consistent with international humanitarian law.

“Third, what sort of review mechanism is there to evaluate when these weapons have been used? Those are the issues I’d like to see addressed,” the UN official said.

Pak police arrests key militant linked to HQ attack

Pak police arrests key militant linked to HQ attack

M Zulqernain

Lahore, Oct 28 (PTI) A key terrorist leader linked to the recent attack on Pakistan army’s fortified General Headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi has been arrested, police claimed today.

Qari Ishtiaq, described as a central commander of the Punjabi Taliban network, was arrested a few days ago in Bahawalpur district of southern Punjab.

This region is considered a stronghold of the Punjabi Taliban, which mainly comprises operatives of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Police seized 400 kg of explosives, 11 grenades, four assault rifles, a rocket launcher and scores of bullets from his possession.

Seven accomplices of Ishtiq were subsequently arrested in Sargodha, Gujranwala and Mailsi, police said.

Dozens Die in Latest Peshawar Car-Bomb Blast

[Criminal gangs continue to wage war upon the innocent citizens of Peshawar in the name of their counterfeit religion.  These men are monsters who work for foreign governments, while the Army looks the other way, doing nothing that will endanger the flowing pay-offs, that somehow make it all acceptable.]

Bomb kills dozens in Pakistan as Hillary Clinton arrives

Dozens killed by terrorist strike in Peshawar coinciding with visit to Islamabad by US secretary of state

Hillary Clinton receives flowers upon her arrival in Pakistan for a three-day visit.Hillary Clinton receives flowers upon her arrival in Pakistan for a three-day visit. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

A bombing in the Pakistani city of Peshawar has killed dozens of people, many of them women and children, as the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, arrived for a three-day visit.

The explosion ripped through a crowded bazaar in the old city, filling the narrow streets with burning debris and trapping dozens of people under twisted wreckage and charred roof beams.

Iftikhar Hussain, a spokesman for the provincial government, said 80 people had been killed and 200 injured in the blast.

According to Pakistani television local hospitals have declared an emergency and are appealing for blood.

A senior government official in the city, Azam Khan, told Reuters. “It was a car bomb. The car was parked outside a market frequented mostly by women,” he said.

Live television coverage showed rescuers scrambling to pull from the rubble survivors with shredded clothes, many crying for help. A three-story building collapsed into a narrow street, kicking up a large cloud of brown smoke and debris.

Men in white prayer caps ferried the dead and injured on makeshift stretchers. Women scrambled to safely through alleyways filled with smoke. Businesses across the city closed immediately.

Television stations, quoting hospital officials, said more than 50 people had been killed and more than 100 injured, with the death toll expected to rise.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the most likely culprits were Taliban militants resisting a giant army operation against their South Waziristan stronghold.

Over the past three weeks more than 250 people have been killed in a series of bombings, gun attacks and targeted assassinations in Islamabad, Peshawar and Lahore. The army says another 200 people, mostly militants, have been killed in heavy fighting in the mountains of South Waziristan.

The Peshawar bomb went off as Clinton arrived in Islamabad, a two-hour drive away. She praised Pakistan for leading the fight against extremists. “I give the government and military high marks for taking them on,” she said. “That wasn’t what they were doing before.”

She admitted relations between the two countries had developed a lot of “scar tissue” and promised to move away from a primarily security-related agenda. “We also recognise that it’s imperative that we broaden our engagement with Pakistan.”

American efforts to aid Pakistan have been fraught with controversy. This month the Pakistani military raised vocal objections to a $7.5bn (£4.6bn) package that it described as a tool of interference in the country’s affairs.

The Action Plan to Combat Reactionaryism

The Action Plan to Combat Reactionaryism

“The Action Plan To Combat (Islamic) Reactionaryism”, which was seized in the Office of Serdar Öztürk, one of the defendants under arrest as part of the Ergenekon probe, comprises 300 pages. The action plan incorporating strategic assessments contains suicides, bombing actions and attacks, which would lead to repercussions in the public.

It has been found out that the strategic assessments uncovered on Öztürk’s computer are an updated text for April 2009, and that the plan containing assessments for 2008 and 2009 was kept current through updating at certain intervals every year.

A 4 page part of the document, which has been allegedly prepared by Senior Colonel Dursun Çiçek working in Support Section Directorate No 3 of the Operations Department in the Office of the Chief of General Staff, was published in the daily, Taraf, on June 12, 2009.

 

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Ergenekon Turkey: A Recent Analysis

Ergenekon Turkey: A Recent Analysis

Eric S. Margolis

According to Eric Margolis from the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, “An intensifying struggle is under way between the two camps. On the surface, it’s “secularism” versus “Islamic government.” But that’s just shorthand for the fierce rivalry between the military-industrial-security complex and Erdogan’s supporters, many of whom are recent immigrants to the big cities from rural areas, where Islam remains vital in spite of eight decades of government efforts to stamp it out or tightly control it.”

Turkey’s Violent Storms-Courtesy of Mother Nature, Ergenekon Trial

The name “Ergenekon” may not be familiar to non-Turks, but this murky affair has riveted Turkey’s 70 million people.

Thirty-three members of a neo-fascist group called Ergenekon have been on trial, accused of murder, terrorism, and trying to overthrow the elected government. The trial was temporarily suspended after the courthouse was flooded out.

The trial has been laying bare the workings of the “deep state,” a powerful cabal of retired military officers, security forces, gangsters, government officials, judges, and business oligarchs that has long been the real power in this complex nation.

Turkey’s military vigorously denies any links to the Ergenekon.

The “deep state” advocates extreme Turkish nationalism and revived Pan-Turkism, or Turanism, the unification of all Turkic peoples from Turkey to the Great Wall of China. Its extreme right-wing members are bitterly anti-Islamic, and violently oppose any admission of guilt for the mass killing during World War I of many of the Ottoman Empire’s Armenians. Most Turks insist the killings occurred in the chaos of war and insurrection. Armenians insist it was the 20th century’s first genocide.

Turkey’s hard right also opposes improving relations with neighbors Armenia and Greece, or making any more concessions to Turkey’s sizeable Kurdish minority.

Ergenekon’s plotters stand accused of plans to assassinate officials of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), a democratic, modernizing movement advocating Islamic principles of fairer wealth distribution and social welfare. While AKP is generally viewed as a moderate, centrist party, Turkey’s secularists, without any serious evidence, claim it is the spearhead of a radical Islamic movement. The real issue is as much about the secularist right to protect its long-enjoyed economic and social privileges as it is religion.

The plotters reportedly hired hit men to kill leading liberal intellectuals, including acclaimed writer Orhan Pamuk, and may have murdered a prominent Armenian-Turkish journalist and three Christians. They also oppose Turkey’s entry into the EU as a threat to “Turkishness.”

What makes this case particularly interesting is that Ergenekon may well be linked to Gladio, a secret, far right underground group created in the 1950s by the U.S. and NATO during the Cold War as “stay behind” guerrillas to resist Soviet invasion or Communist takeovers. Gladio had a network of agents and caches of arms across Europe with secret links to NATO intelligence services.

Gladio staged numerous bombing attacks and assassinations during the 1970s and ’80s in a effort to promote far-right coups in Italy, Belgium and Turkey, where it remains active.

A cell was even recently uncovered in Switzerland. In Italy, Gladio members played a key role in the P2 Masonic Lodge intrigue and the Vatican’s Banco Ambrosiano scandal that led to the murder of banker Roberto Calvi.

The Ergenekon plot is one facet of the intense struggle between Erdogan’s Islamist-lite reformists and Turkey’s 510,000-man armed forces which sees itself as defender of the anti-religious, Westernized secular state created in the 1930s by Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey.

Turkey’s generals are also allied to the deeply entrenched secularist oligarchy of business barons, judges, university rectors, media groups, and the security services that has made Ataturk’s memory and anti-religious values into a state philosophy.

Turkey’s right-wing generals have overthrown three governments and ousted a fourth. The Turkish military establishment is traditionally close to the U.S. and Israel, with whom it’s had extensive military, arms and intelligence dealings.

Until Prime Minister Erdogan’s election, the military was Turkey’s real government behind a thin façade of squabbling elected politicians, a fact lost on Western observers who used to urge Turkey’s “democratic” political model on the Muslim world.

An intensifying struggle is under way between the two camps. On the surface, it’s “secularism” versus “Islamic government.” But that’s just shorthand for the fierce rivalry between the military-industrial-security complex and Erdogan’s supporters, many of whom are recent immigrants to the big cities from rural areas, where Islam remains vital in spite of eight decades of government efforts to stamp it out or tightly control it.

Right-wing forces recently got allies in the Appeals Court to lay spurious corruption charges against Turkey’s respected president, Abdullah Gul. The Erdogan government struck back by levying a $2.5 billion tax fine on the powerful Dogan media conglomerate that has been a fierce critic and enemy of the prime minister. Both foolish acts injure Turkey’s image as a modern democracy.

Erdogan has been Turkey’s best, most popular prime minister. He has enacted important political, social, legal and economic reforms, and has drawn Turks closer to Europe’s laws and values. He stabilized Turkey’s formerly wild finances and brought a spirit of real democracy to Turkey. The EU keeps warning Turkey’s growling generals to keep out of politics.

After 50 years of trying, Turkey still can’t get into Europe. Europe clearly wants an obedient Turkey to protect its eastern flank, but not an equal partner and certainly not a new member, even though Turkey is as qualified for the EU as Bulgaria or Romania.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and France’s Nicholas Sarkozy, both leaders of Europe’s anti-Muslim right, keep saying no to the Turks. The EU wants no more farmers-and productive, lower cost ones at that-and no more Muslims.

 

 


 

European Parliament’s Dead-end Resolution on Gladio, November 22, 1990

Europe’s official view on Gladio

Twenty years ago, European Parliament passed a resolution on Operation Gladio.”Such clandestine network may have interfered illegally in the internal political affairs of Member States or may still do so”, it reads.

On November 22, 1990, the European Parliament passed a resolution on Operation Gladio. It states that these calendestine organizations  have existed for 40 years and have escaped all democratic controls. The document underlines the danger that “such clandestine network may have interfered illegally in the internal political affairs of Member States or may still do so.”

European Parliament then calls the governments of the member States  to take the necessary measures, “if necessary by establishing parliamentary committees of inquiry”, and the judiciaries to “clarify any action they may have taken to destabilize the democratic structure of the Member States”.

European Parliament Resolution on Gladio

 

On November 22, 1990, the European Parliament passed a resolution on Operation Gladio.

 

Joint resolution replacing B3-2021, 2058, 2068, 2078 and 2087/90

A. having regard to the revelation by several European governments of the existence for 40 years of a clandestine parallel intelligence and armed operations organization in several Member States of the Community,

B. whereas for over 40 years this organization has escaped all democratic controls and has been run by the secret services of the states concerned in collaboration with NATO,

C. fearing the danger that such clandestine network may have interfered illegally in the internal political affairs of Member States or may still do so,

D. whereas in certain Member States military secret services (or uncontrolled branches thereof) were involved in serious cases of terrorism and crime as evidenced by, various judicial inquiries,

E. whereas these organizations operated and continue to operate completely outside the law since they are not subject to any parliamentary control and frequently those holding the highest government and constitutional posts are kept in the dark as to these matters,

F. whereas the various ‘Gladio’ organizations have at their disposal independent arsenals and military ressources which give them an unknown strike potential, thereby jeopardizing the democratic structures of the countries in which they are operating or have been operating,

G. greatly concerned at the existence of decision-making and operational bodies which are not subject to any form of democratic control and are of a completely clandestine nature at a time when greater Community cooperation in the field of security is a constant subject of discussion,

1. Condemns the clandestine creation of manipulative and operational networks and Calls for a full investigation into the nature, structure, aims and all other aspects of these clandestine organizations or any splinter groups, their use for illegal interference in the internal political affairs of the countries concerned, the problem of terrorism in Europe and the possible collusion of the secret services of Member States or third countries;

2. Protests vigorously at the assumption by certain US military personnel at SHAPE and in NATO of the right to encourage the establishment in Europe of a clandestine intelligence and operation network;

3. Calls on the governments of the Member States to dismantle all clandestine military and paramilitary networks;

4. Calls on the judiciaries of the countries in which the presence of such military organizations has been ascertained to elucidate fully their composition and modus operandi and to clarify any action they may have taken to destabilize the democratic structure of the Member States;

5. Requests all the Member States to take the necessary measures, if necessary by establishing parliamentary committees of inquiry, to draw up a complete list of organizations active in this field, and at the same time to monitor their links with the respective state intelligence services and their links, if any, with terrorist action groups and/or other illegal practices;

6. Calls on the Council of Ministers to provide full information on the activities of these secret intelligence and operational services;

7. Calls on its competent committee to consider holding a hearing in order to clarify the role and impact of the ‘Gladio’ organization and any similar bodies;

8. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the Secretary-General of NATO, the governments of the Member States and the United States Government.”

3 killed, over 10 hurt in Peshawar Meena Bazar blast

3 killed, over 10 hurt in Peshawar Meena Bazar blast

PESHAWAR: Three persons have been killed and more then 10 wounded in blast occurred in Meena Bazar near chowk Yadgar in Peshawar. Police have confirmed the causalities.

The fire has been erupted in nearby shops after the blast as fire tenders are trying to douse the fire. Thick smoke has been seen at the site of the blast. The injured have been shifted to Lady Reading Hospital.

The blast shattered windowpanes of nearby buildings and created panic among the people. The nature of the blast is yet to be identified.

STATE PARANOIA AND CONFUSION OF SECURITY OF CITIZENS OF PAKISTAN

STATE PARANOIA AND CONFUSION OF SECURITY OF

CITIZENS OF PAKISTAN

Dr. Khurrum Shaukat Yusafzai.

A Total , Paranoia and State of Confusion occurs in Pakistan and Especially Punjab regarding Security of Citizens . According to Statistics, I collected from Terrorism Portal only 16 Incidents of Terrorism have occurred in Punjab in whole 2009 year. In the same period, 200 incidents have occurred in NWFP.

Clearly, Target is NWFP not Punjab . While the Overactive CM of Punjab has given a very Paranoid 8 point measure for Protection of Schools which has raised the Fees of each Student to 500 to 1000 Rupees gleefully to their advantage.

The raise in price does not guarantee any Security at all. The Establishment is Making Forts out of schools while it is not targeting the Terrorists at its Place of origin where they are Trained and breed and born, Like Southern Punjab and FATA.

Even media hushes up Headlines to Banned Religious Outfits and not their real Identities like Sipah Sahaba , Lashker Taiba , and jaish Mohammad etc. Clearly, The GHQ attacker belonged to these outfits.  Ostrich Like closing eyes is state policy.

Furthermore, Security in NWFP Citizens is Abandoned Deliberately, by Establishment as if we are Not Pakistanis at Mercy of Terrorists as if there is nothing can be done here. Terrorist from Punjab , Afghanistan , Arabia and CIS countries freely settle eat, and drink here and establishment turns a Blind Eye as an Official policy.

Even the Mud huts are demolished in Punjab and islamabad of these refugees and are sent to NWFP to cause Mayhaym here and save Punjab and do it in NWFP is allright . All activities are Allowed according to State Policy . Even the Inteligence agencies give reports about Terrorist attacking punjab is given on media ,  the ones occuring in NWFP is not given at all , another state policy .

The Frontier constabulary meant to Police NWFP and FR -regions are all situated in Islamabad and Punjab .  Vacuum areas are created Deliberatively in Areas called FR –region although they are Part of NWFP Cities like Peshawar , DI Khan , Tank , Bannu and Kohat are all  without any State Governance apparatus which are occupied  by Drug Dealers , Afghan and CIS Citizens and Terrorists with facilities provide to them openely like Mobile phones Sims and basic Amenities like gas and Electricity  as per State Hidden policy  even the Sim used in Exploding the Car on Motorway was bought easily and activated with False Identitly as state Provides them with This facility and we are given Cock and bull story that mobile companies dont comply and will leave investment here .

It is interesting that , In FATA there is Frontier Corps ( Army ) , FC ( Constabulary ) , and Political agent and Army itself . In Fr- regions, there is nothing all Deliberate. Same is case of Southern Punjab where the Terror Madrassahs work under Government protection.

I don’t, Understand NWFP which is Highly targeted (200 Incidents) , is neglected Punjab is raising hue and cry in very high Pitched manner which had only 16 Incidents .

Thanking you in Anticipation from ,

Email : Khurrumuk@gmail.com

REFERENDUM OF MUNAFIQS

[Munāfiq (n., in Arabic: منافق, plural munāfiqūn) is an Islamic Arabic term used to describe a religious hypocrite, who outwardly practices Islam, while inwardly concealing his disbelief (kufr), perhaps even unknowingly.

The Qur'an has hundreds of ayāt (verses) discussing munāfiqūn, referring to them as more dangerous to Muslims than the worst non-Muslim enemies of Islam.]

REFERENDUM OF MUNAFIQS

Dr. Khurrum Shaukat Yusafzai.

Jammat Islami being part of MMA along with other Munafiq Jammat called JUI, who got a Lot of Plots from GHQ, has just concluded a referendum against Kerry Lugar Bill, while it fails to find a genuine Issue of Pakistan to address like Terrorism and controlling their Rogue Madrasshas. While its Previous members like Dr Usman, who led the raid on GHQ was a previous Jammat islami member too, with Links to Mansoora.

It has cunningly held the Referendum in Punjab where its Power base is situated and not in NWFP and FATA. Where it has lost it support with Pashtun people. Hence the referendum cannot be termed as accurate and Voice of people of Pakistan. It can only be known, as Voice of People of Punjab and just one city Karachi.

The people of Punjab think differently than NWFP people, as people in NWFP are Pro-Drone and want the Terrorists in FATA clearly eliminated. It is not Kerry Lugar Bill, which is forming this opinion.

It is just we are fed up with Bearded Terrorists and their Jammats, Lashkers and Jaishes all by products of Jammat islami and JUI who worked for America and Israel in the Past and maybe now too, as they form Pressure groups to ruling coalition, when they do something that is not liked by America.

Jammat and JUI is corrupt to core and no one has Courage to take up the Cases of Land allotments from GHQ, Welfare Directorate to JUI and Jammat members . Can somebody do the Audit Finances of these Jammats and the Madrasshas?

While the Wafaq-ul- Madaras , is in Private sector and is Government within government and it Grabs lands of Government and its Departments at will with No Police and judiciary Challenging them as they are Gods men and beyond Accountability . Maybe the Allah Command of Cutting one hand and One leg for corruption is not implementable in them , which is part of their Islamic belief too as they are above Allah,s law too.

Where they are getting their money from, maybe the Secular parties don’t want to know because they are corrupt to boot themselves. They want to scratch their backs while they scratch theirs too.
Khurrumuk@gmail.com

Katyusha Rocket from Southern Lebanon Hits Northern Israel

Katyusha Rocket from Southern Lebanon Hits Northern Israel

A Katyusha-type rocket fired from al-Jamal valley which is located between the villages of Houla and Mays al-Jabal in southern Lebanon hit northern Israel on Tuesday night without causing any casualties. Israel has retaliated by shelling the launching point.
The rocket landed in an open ground east of the northern Israeli settlement of Kiryat Shmona and started a fire, which did not cause any damage, the Israeli police said.

Israeli northern military command held an immediate meeting to discuss the incident and retaliation options. The Lebanese government was held responsible.

Meanwhile, Lebanese Army and UNIFIL rushed to the scene and encircled the incident’s zone as their patrols roamed the area.

Reports mentioned that the Israeli jetfighters were roaming densely the sky of the South.

This was the fourth rocket attack this year from Lebanon towards Israel and comes as cross-border tensions have been increasing.

On September 11, at least two rockets fired from the southern village of Al-Qlaileh slammed into Israel without causing casualties but triggering retaliatory artillery fire.

A group linked to Al-Qaida claimed responsibility.

In February, Israeli artillery bombarded Al-Qlaileh in response to a rocket attack. There were no casualties in Lebanon, while a few Israelis were lightly wounded.

In January, during Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip, four rockets fired from Lebanon hit northern Israel, wounding two women.

DU (Depleted Uranium) Contamination All Across This Country

[America's "Elite" war planners seem determined to contaminate every square inch of this planet with so-called "safe DU."  After Obama gets to let-off a few nukes global radiation levels will climb even higherIs that the plan?    Do they think that raising planetary radiation levels will cause some evolutionary changes, beneficial or otherwise? If they have knowledge that tells them that mankind must mutate for some reason, where did that knowledge come from?]

The Pentagon’s Dirty Bombers: Depleted Uranium in the USA

Dave Lindorff

dum101spottinground.preview.jpg
October 26, 2009

 

 

 

The Nuclear Regulator Commission is considering an application by the US Army for a permit to have depleted uranium at its Pohakuloa Training Area, a vast stretch of flat land in what’s called the “saddle” between the sacred mountains of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on Hawaii’s Big Island, and at the Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu. In fact, what the Army is asking for is a permit to leave in place the DU left over from years of test firing of M101 mortar “spotting rounds,” that each contained close to half a pound of depleted uranium (DU). The Army, which originally denied that any DU weapons had been used at either location, now says that as many as 2000 rounds of M101 DU mortars might have been fired at Pohakuloa alone.

But that’s only a small part of the story.

The Army is actually seeking a master permit from the NRC to cover all the sites where it has fired DU weapons, including penetrator shells that, unlike the M101, are designed to hit targets and burn on impact, turning the DU in the warhead into a fine dust of uranium oxide. Hearings on this proposal were held in Hawaii on Aug. 26 and 27.

Depleted uranium M101 "spotter round" for Davy Crockett MortarDepleted uranium M101 “spotter round” for Davy Crockett Mortar

Uranium particles, whether pure uranium or in an oxidized form, are alpha emitters, and can be highly carcinogenic and mutagenic if ingested or inhaled, since they can lodge in one part of the body—the kidney or lung or gonad, for example—and then irradiate surrounding cells with large, destructive alpha particles (actually helium atoms), until some gene is compromised and a cell become malignant.

Among the sites identified by the NRC as being contaminated with DU are:

Ft. Hood, TX
Ft. Benning, GA
Ft. Campbell, KY
Ft. Knox, KY
Ft. Lewis, WA
Ft. Riley, KS
Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD
Ft. Dix, NJ
Makua Military Reservation, HI

Other locations identified as having DU weapons contamination are:

China Lake Air Warfare Center, CA
Eglin AFB, Florida,
Nellis AFB, NV
Davis-Monthan AFB
Kirtland AFB, NM
White Sands Missile Range, NM
Ethan Allen Firing Range, VT
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

An application for a 99-year permit to test DU weapons at the NM Inst. Of Mining and Technology claimed that that site’s test area was “so contaminated with DU…as to preclude any other use”!

DU weapons have also been used by the Navy at Vieques Island off Puerto Rico (the Navy claimed it was a “mistake.”

The Pentagon continues a long history of claiming that DU–which is the uranium that is left after the fissionable isotope U-235 is removed to make nuclear fuel and bombs–is not dangerous, although this official stance is belied by the warnings it has given to its troops (though not to civilians in battle zones), to stay well clear of tanks and other equipment destroyed by US tanks, which used DU weapons as the ordnance of choice in both the Gulf War and the current Iraq War. During both wars, DU ammunition was used by Army and Marine tanks, by the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the A-10 ground support jet, the Marine Harrier jet, and specially equipped F16 fighter jets. The Navy also switched from DU ammunition to tungsten ammunition in its Phalanx anti-missile ship defense system because of health and environmental concerns with the DU ammo.

In both wars, a high percentage of troops have returned with many physical ailments–auto-immune problems, cancers, and later, birth defects in offspring–which have been referred to as Gulf War and now Iraq War Syndrome. As many as a quarter of returning vets from the Gulf War have reported strange illnesses and cancers and the numbers are rising for Iraq War vets. As well, statistics from the National Institutes of Health show that counties hosting bases and test facilities where DU has been uses also show high cancer rates. This is certainly true for Hawaii’s Big Island, which has the highest cancer rates for the Hawaiian archepelago. Meanwhile, the lung cancer rate for the Ft. Knox area is 105-127 per 100,000 for the 2001-2005 period, high by state and national standards. The rate is among the highest in the state of Washington for Pierce County, where Ft. Lewis is located.

The Pentagon denies that it uses depleted uranium in bombs, missiles and cruise missile warheads, but military personnel have reported their use in all three delivery systems, and reports exist of DU bunker-buster bombs, DU-tipped penetrator warheads on Tomahawk cruise missiles and on some air-to-ground missiles.

It’s a good bet that all US munitions containing DU have been widely tested at various US military bases and testing grounds.

The bottom line is that at the same time that US government is continuing to warn about the danger of terrorists acquiring the materials to make a “dirty” bomb that could spread radioactive material in the US, the US military has for years been doing exactly that, and continues to do so, with no intention to clean up its messes, many of which are allowing depleted uranium to percolate into ground water or flow down streams to more populated areas.

Of course, it could have been worse. The M101 mortar that litters Pohakuloa was actually designed as a range-finder for the Davy Crocket mortar, which back in the late 1950s and the 1960s, and up until 1971 was designed to allow infantry troops to fire a small “tactical” nuclear mortar shell at targets just one to two miles distant. Some 700 of these “little nukes”, that had a power of “just” several kilotons or less, were made and actually made their way into the arsenals of troops in Europe and elsewhere during the Cold War. Fortunately there are no reports of any of them having been fired off at any of the military’s firing ranges–especially given that their radiation effect radius was larger than their firing range, meaning that launching one was an automatic suicide mission.

Davy Crockett mini nuke, in test-firing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD (Actually firing it would have been suicide.)Davy Crockett mini nuke, in test-firing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD (Actually firing it would have been suicide.)

Then again, the Pentagon doesn’t exactly have a sterling record about telling the truth where nuclear weapons and DU weapons are concerned. (You start to notice as you look into this stuff that with uranium weapons, the military’s attitude towards troop safety is not a whole lot better than its attitude towards the people at the downrange end of the line.)

Nor is the NRC to be relied on to protect the American public. As an administrative judge wrote in a ruling on a case involving DU contamination at Jefferson Proving Ground in Indiana, the NRC exhibited a “more than casual attitude with regard to decommissioning of sites on which radioactive materials remain as a potential threat to public health and safety and to the environment.”

In another case, involving cleanup of the ShieldAlloy Metallurgical Corp.’s site in Newfield, NJ, where DU weapons were made, a judge said, “at the very least, the (NRC) staff has countenanced…a situation that will leave the citizens in the area surrounding the activity site in doubt for close to two decades regarding what measures will ultimately be taken for their protection.”



:: Article nr. 59407 sent on 27-oct-2009 08:32 ECT
www.uruknet.info?p=59407

Link: thiscantbehappening.net/?q=node/405

Zionist Judge Lets the Mask Slip, For Israelis, It Has Always Been About Religion

West Bank land belongs to Jews, says Israeli army judge

Meron Rapoport in Jerusalem

 

greater-israel-map5.jpg
Map of Greater Israel

The Guardian, October 26, 2009

• Settlements lawyer reveals core beliefs
• Peace with Palestinians ‘goes against nature’

Major Adrian Agassi did not make the connection between the Bible, the land and the Jews when, fresh out of university, he left England for Israel in search of his roots. He was not even a practising Jew.

But over the past quarter of a century, the Israeli army lawyer and then military judge at the forefront of arguably the most significant battle in the occupied West Bank – the confiscation of Palestinian land for the construction of Jewish settlements – has come to see himself as in service of a higher duty.

In an unusually frank interview, which offers insights into the melding of religion, politics and law that underpins land seizures in the occupied territories, Agassi has laid out his belief that Israel has a biblical claim to territory beyond its borders and that he, even as an immigrant, has a right to live on it when those born there do not.

“When we [Israelis] say that this is a political conflict, then we lose the battle,” he told the Guardian, adding that it should be remembered that the ancient land of Israel is “given to us by the Bible, not by some United Nations”.

Agassi, one of the most important officials in the military courts wielding authority over large parts of the West Bank, says settling Jews on lands that made up ancient Israel stands above all other biblical commandments and only when it is done can they have “a promised land and a promised life”.

“You say that these lands ‘passed into Jewish hands’. Others would say that they came back into Jewish hands. Others would say that they are obviously ours, inherently,” he said. It was, he claims, a mistake to call it the State of Israel. “If we would have named it the State of Jews, the Arabs would have understood that this land belongs to the Jews.”

Agassi served in the legal department that oversaw the confiscation of land in the West Bank to build Jewish settlements and was then appointed to the military court that decided Palestinian appeals against the seizure of their property. The Palestinians almost never won. His court also ruled on legal disputes between Jewish settlers and Palestinians.

Agassi denies his credo affected his legal judgments but his court was considered so biased by some critics that on one occasion the military prosecution, in an unusual step, appealed against Agassi’s ruling in favour of settlers to Israel’s high court.

Agassi was born in Southgate, London, in 1964 to a family of rabbis from Baghdad. He studied law in the UK and emigrated to Israel at the age of 24 “with £500 and all of Bob Dylan’s records”. Four years later he found himself dragged into the first Palestinian uprising, the intifada, as a legal adviser to the military in the West Bank.

“I was very young and suddenly found myself in front of the stones and Molotov cocktail and the hate. I studied law, I had a liberal education, but I was at war and I knew we were right,” he said. “I was 26 years old, I came from a foreign land. Those actions guarded our existence in the land of Israel. It lies at the heart of the conflict. It’s a legitimate means to continue the works of our forefathers Abraham, Joseph and David.”

Agassi says a peace agreement with the Palestinians “goes against nature” because as far as he can see nothing had changed in last 4,000 years in the land of Israel, and that back to biblical times Arabs and Jews were at each other’s throats.

Agassi uses the term Arabs because he claims Palestinians do not exist.

He came to this conclusion over the past decade while serving as a special judge for administrative arrest. Based on confidential intelligence reports, without trial, Agassi sent several hundred Palestinians – deemed to be terrorists or security threats – to prison for six months or more.

“You read the raw intelligence material and you see that most of them are moved by religious doctrine, not by a political one. They use religion in order to justify killing as many Jews as possible. Is this not a religious war?”

Right wing Knesset Members from Likud and National Union incite Jewish extremists to invade the Al-Aqs Sanctuary

Jpost Video: Right wing MKs call for Jews to also defend the Temple Mount:Right wing Knesset (Israeli Parliament) members from Likud and National Union Parties calling on Jewish extremists to violate the sanctity of Al Aqsa [Third Holiest site in Islam], calling their actions “defending the right of Jews to defend the temple mount” a temple that does not exist and hasn’t existed for thousands of years, and whose location has not been found and proven to date.” Leave it to the zionist settlers [colonists] to twist words out of shape and call aggression a defense. How else was Israel able to cover up its colonialist crimes.www.uruknet.info?p=59408

more about “Right wing Knesset Members from Likud…“, posted with vodpod

 

Message to Anarchy: Greet the War Criminal

For those in the NYC area…please provide a suitable welcome for this credibly-accused perpetrator of genocide.


Tony Blair, Former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Friday, October 30, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.
Location: Simon Forum
Tickets: Single Event Tickets Available

Drew University
36 Madison Avenue
Madison, New Jersey 07940,
973-408-3000
Kevin Barrett
Author, Questioning the War on Terror: A Primer for Obama Voters: http://www.questioningthewaronterror.com

It Is Genocide When We Do It.

Picking up where last week’s “Bust the War Criminals” show with William Pepper and Josh Blakeney left off…

Today, I will interview Dr. Ian Douglas, Coordinator, International Initiative to Prosecute U.S. Genocide in Iraq: http://www.usgenocide.org/

Fair and Balanced with Kevin Barrett
9 – 10 a.m. Pacific (noon – 1 pm Eastern)

The “Bust the War Criminals” theme will continue on Saturday’s show with Richard Falk, U.N. Special Human Rights Rapporteur for Palestine, discussing Israeli war crimes and the Goldstone Report (proceeded by major Protestant theologian John Cobb). Then next Tuesday William Blum, author and expert on what he has called the “American holocaust” of military and CIA mayhem around the world, will offer historical perspective on today’s war crimes. And next month,  Israeli-born anti-Zionist musician, author and essayist Gilad Atzmon, and author Alan Hart (Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews) will offer their perspectives on the war crimes of the Zio-American empire.


Talking back to the Pope and more! http://www.truthjihad.blogspot.com

Thanks for listening, and remember…if you hear of any suspected war criminals heading for YOUR community, do not, repeat, do NOT report them to the Department of Homeland Security. Instead, report them to websites like this: http://warcriminalswatch.org/index.php/wcw-events And if you have the guts, try to arrest them yourself, like Splitting-the-Sky did: http://truthjihad.blogspot.com/2009/03/splitting-sky-arrested-while-attempting.html

For truth and justice,

Kevin Barrett

* * *

PS: For those in the NYC area…please provide a suitable welcome for this credibly-accused perpetrator of genocide.

Tony Blair, Former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Friday, October 30, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.
Location: Simon Forum
Tickets: Single Event Tickets Available

Drew University
36 Madison Avenue
Madison, New Jersey 07940,
973-408-3000
Kevin Barrett
Author, Questioning the War on Terror: A Primer for Obama Voters: http://www.questioningthewaronterror.com

Steps Toward The American Police State are Always Tried-Out in Britain First

Doth I protest too much?

When police admit you could be put on a secret database for being at a demo, it’s time to worry

I was sent the now notorious “police spotter card” through the post. It’s an official laminated card for “police eyes only” and labelled as coming from “CO11 Public Order Intelligence Unit”. The card contained the photographs of 24 anti-arms trade protesters, unnamed but lettered A to X. My picture appeared as photo H. You can imagine my reaction at finding I was the subject of a secret police surveillance process … I was delighted. I phoned my agent and told him I was suspect H. He replied: “Next year we’ll get you top billing … suspect A.”

The Metropolitan police circulated the card specifically for the Docklands biannual arms fair in London to help its officers identify “people at specific events who may instigate offences or disorder”. Which is such a flattering quote I am thinking of having it on my next tour poster. While being wanted outside the arms fair, I was legitimately inside researching a book on the subject, and uncovered four companies illegally promoting “banned” torture equipment. Questions were later asked in the Commons as to why HM Revenue & Customs and the police didn’t spot it. Though, in fairness, none of the torture traders featured on the spotter card.

What exactly was I doing that was so awfully wrong as to merit this attention? Today’s Guardian revelations of three secret police units goes some way to explain the targeting of protesters and raises worrying questions. The job of these units is to spy on protesters, and collate and circulate information about them. Protesters – or, as the police call them, “domestic extremists” – are the new “reds under the bed”.

Many of those targeted by the police have committed no crime and are guilty only of non-violent direct action. So it is worth reminding ourselves that protest is legal. Sorry if this sounds obvious, but you might have gained the impression that if three police units are spying on and targeting thousands, then those people must be up to something illegal.

The very phrase “domestic extremist” defines protesters in the eyes of the police as the problem, the enemy. Spying on entire groups and organisations, and targeting the innocent, undermines not only our rights but the law – frightfully silly of me to drag this into an argument about policing, I know.

Protest is part of the democratic process. It wasn’t the goodwill of politicians that led them to cancel developing countries’ debt, but the protests and campaigning of millions of ordinary people around the world. The political leaders were merely the rubber stamp in the democratic process. Thus any targeting and treatment of demonstrators (at the G20 for example) that creates a “chilling effect” – deterring those who may wish to exercise their right to protest – is profoundly undemocratic.

No police, secret or otherwise, should operate without proper accountability. So how are these three units accountable? Who has access to the databases? How long does information remain in the system? What effect could it have on travel and future employment of those targeted? How closely do these units work with corporate private investigators, and does the flow of information go both ways? Do the police target strikers?

A police spokesman has said that anyone who finds themselves on a database “should not worry at all”. When a spokesman for the three secret units will not disclose a breakdown of their budgets, and two of the three will not even name who heads their operations (even MI6 gave us an initial, for God’s sake), then the words “should not worry at all” are meaningless. Indeed, when the police admit that someone could end up on a secret police database merely for attending a demonstration, it is exactly the time to worry.

Spotter cards: What they look like and how they work

Police spotter cardView larger picture

This kind of highly confidential document – pictured above – is rarely seen by the public.

These so-called “spotter cards” are issued by police to identify individuals they consider to be potential troublemakers because they have appeared at a number of demonstrations.

The photographs are drawn from police intelligence files. This card was apparently dropped at a demonstration against Britain’s largest arms fair in 2005.

H is Mark Thomas, the comedian and political activist. Asked why it was justifiable to put Thomas, who has no criminal record, on this card, the Metropolitan police replied: “We do not discuss intelligence we may hold in relation to individuals.”

Thomas had been acquitted of criminal damage after attaching himself to a bus containing arms traders at a previous fair.

The Met said: “This is an appropriate tactic used by police to help them identify people at specific events … who may instigate offences or disorder.”

The arms fair “is a biannual event that is specifically targeted by known protest groups, who in the past have stated their intention was to shut down or disrupt the event.” As the cards are “strictly controlled”, the officers who lost it were “dealt with”.

THE FOLLOWING IS PART OF THE PSYOP, ONLY TRUE SHEEP

WILL LET THEM KNOW HOW THEY ARE DOING.

• Are you featured on the card? How do you feel about it? Let us know by emailing news.desk@guardian.co.uk

Israelis Deploy Guilt Weapon in Attempt to Extort Warships from Germany

Israel wants free warships from Germany

Israel has asked Germany to deliver two warships for free.

In a request that has caught the Berlin government off guard, Israel has asked for the delivery of two expensive German-made warships “free of charge”.

The German daily Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Saturday that Tel Aviv has asked Germany to help bolster its defenses by providing a pair of MEKO corvettes that would probably cost hundreds of millions of euros.

Built at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, the ships feature advanced radar-evading capabilities and are exclusively designed to carry US-made missile systems.

Israel receives much of its military funding and equipment from the United States. According to the Wall Street Journal, US military aid to Israel will total $2.55 billion in 2009.

Tel Aviv has also received assistance from Germany over the years.

The Kiel shipyard Howaldtswerken Deutsche Werft had earlier delivered three submarines between 1999 and 2000.

In addition, two more submarines are currently being built in Kiel, costing at least 500 million euros apiece, for which Germany is to pay a third. They are slated to be delivered to Israel by 2012.

Berlin has not yet responded to the request, but according to the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, “influential politicians in northern Germany” are secretly supporting the deal, claiming it will help German shipyards weather the global economic downturn.

Blair Speechwriter Admits Immigration Policies Designed for Social Agitation

Labour wanted mass immigration to make UK more multicultural, says former adviser

Labour threw open Britain’s borders to mass immigration to help socially engineer a “truly multicultural” country, a former Government adviser has revealed.

By Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Editor

The huge increases in migrants over the last decade were partly due to a politically motivated attempt by ministers to radically change the country and “rub the Right’s nose in diversity”, according to Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett.

He said Labour’s relaxation of controls was a deliberate plan to “open up the UK to mass migration” but that ministers were nervous and reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its “core working class vote”.

As a result, the public argument for immigration concentrated instead on the economic benefits and need for more migrants.

Critics said the revelations showed a “conspiracy” within Government to impose mass immigration for “cynical” political reasons.

Mr Neather was a speech writer who worked in Downing Street for Tony Blair and in the Home Office for Jack Straw and David Blunkett, in the early 2000s.

Writing in the Evening Standard, he revealed the “major shift” in immigration policy came after the

publication of a policy paper from the Performance and Innovation Unit, a Downing Street think tank based in the Cabinet Office, in 2001.

He wrote a major speech for Barbara Roche, the then immigration minister, in 2000, which was largely based on drafts of the report.

He said the final published version of the report promoted the labour market case for immigration but unpublished versions contained additional reasons, he said.

He wrote: “Earlier drafts I saw also included a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural.

“I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended – even if this wasn’t its main purpose – to rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date.”

The “deliberate policy”, from late 2000 until “at least February last year”, when the new points based system was introduced, was to open up the UK to mass migration, he said.

Some 2.3 million migrants have been added to the population since then, according to Whitehall estimates quietly slipped out last month.

On Question Time on Thursday, Mr Straw was repeatedly quizzed about whether Labour’s immigration policies had left the door open for the BNP.

In his column, Mr Neather said that as well as bringing in hundreds of thousands more migrants to plug labour market gaps, there was also a “driving political purpose” behind immigration policy.

He defended the policy, saying mass immigration has “enriched” Britain, and made London a more attractive and cosmopolitan place.

But he acknowledged that “nervous” ministers made no mention of the policy at the time for fear of alienating Labour voters.

“Part by accident, part by design, the Government had created its longed-for immigration boom.

“But ministers wouldn’t talk about it. In part they probably realised the conservatism of their core voters: while ministers might have been passionately in favour of a more diverse society, it wasn’t necessarily a debate they wanted to have in working men’s clubs in Sheffield or Sunderland.”

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the Migrationwatch think tank, said: “Now at least the truth is out, and it’s dynamite.

“Many have long suspected that mass immigration under Labour was not just a cock up but also a conspiracy. They were right.

“This Government has admitted three million immigrants for cynical political reasons concealed by dodgy economic camouflage.”

The chairmen of the cross-party Group for Balanced Migration, MPs Frank Field and Nicholas Soames, said: “We welcome this statement by an ex-adviser, which the whole country knows to be true.

“It is the first beam of truth that has officially been shone on the immigration issue in Britain.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “Our new flexible points based system gives us greater control on those coming to work or study from outside Europe, ensuring that only those that Britain need can come.

“Britain’s borders are stronger than ever before and we are rolling out ID cards to foreign nationals, we have introduced civil penalties for those employing illegal workers and from the end of next year our electronic border system will monitor 95 per cent of journeys in and out of the UK.

“The British people can be confident that immigration is under control.”

Foreign Agents behind Iraq, Pakistan, Iran Attacks: Imam Khamenei

Foreign Agents behind Iraq, Pakistan, Iran Attacks: Imam Khamenei

Readers Number : 41

26/10/2009 Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Imam Ali Khamenei said on Monday that the bloodshed in Pakistan, Iraq and the Islamic republic was the work of foreign agents and aimed at unleashing a Shiite-Sunni conflict.
“The bloody actions being committed in some Islamic countries, including Iraq, Pakistan and in some parts of the country (Iran), are aimed at creating division between the Shiites and Sunnis,” his eminence was quoted on state television.
Imam Khamenei said regional countries must beware that “those who carry out these terrorist actions are directly or indirectly foreign agents.”

“Perpetrators of terrorist and bloody moves are directly or indirectly linked to foreign agents,” Khamenei was quoted as saying… This is why Muslims should pay great attention to the issue of their unity,” the Imam said, adding that “During Hajj season (the pilgrims) should be sensitive about moves against the Islamic unity.”

The three regional countries which share borders with each other have been rocked by brutal violence in past weeks.
On Sunday, two vehicle bombs killed around 155 people in Baghdad, while Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province was rocked by an October 18 suicide attack which killed more than 40 people, including 15 Revolutionary Guards members.
A series of deadly attacks have also swept Pakistan.

Iran has blamed the October 18 attack on the so called rebel group Jundallah (Soldiers of God) which has been waging an insurgency against Tehran’s regime.
On Monday, Guards chief Mohammad Ali Jafari once again ramped up pressure on Islamabad to hand over Jundallah leader Abdolmalek Rigi, who Tehran says is based in Pakistan.
“We are expecting this (Pakistani) government to cooperate with Iran in apprehending this guy (Rigi),” he said, adding that Islamabad was under the “influence and pressure of America.”
Islamabad has strongly denied that the Jundallah attack was launched from its territory.

IDPs of Waziristan operation in miserable condition

IDPs of Waziristan operation in miserable condition

After fleeing from latest war zone, grandfather Haji Abdullah had hoped for a warmer welcome when he reached safety. “When they realise you’re a Mehsud, they treat you like a suicide bomber who’s wearing an explosive jacket,” said Abdullah, one of 120,000 people to have fled an anti-Taliban army offensive in the South Waziristan tribal belt. “It’s simply humiliating,” added the 67-year-old, who travelled from his home in Makin, a Taliban redoubt, with five sons and seven grandchildren. Like many of those fearing for their lives, Abdullah made his way to the city of Dera Ismail Khan where he soon encountered hostility as a member of the same tribe as Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud. Such is the wariness of locals in a town which has endured a history of militant attacks, Abdullah’s family says he was only able to find somewhere to stay three days after one of his relatives put up guarantees. “No landlord was willing to rent out his house to me,” he added. But locals say they have every reason to suspect the uninvited new-arrivals from Waziristan, which lies outside direct government control, and believe many are active Taliban followers who are masquerading as innocent victims. “These people are a security risk as most of them belong to the Mehsud tribe and have strong Taliban sympathies,” said Adeel Shahzad, a shoe shop salesman. “The situation has become very tense in our city because of the arrival of these people,” Shahzad said, accusing them of triggering an increase in crime. A local police commander said his men had received strict orders from the provincial government to keep a close eye out for trouble. “We have clear orders from the government to keep an eye on the displaced persons as the situation may further deteriorate with their arrival,” district police chief Gul Afzal Afridi told AFP. “We have intelligence reports that many of these displaced persons were strong supporters of Taliban,” he said, adding that dozens of new police checkposts have been set up across the city. Police and army personnel can be seen patrolling the streets round the clock in the city, which has a history of Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence as well as Taliban attacks. Hospitals and hotels have shut their gates and only people with valid identity documents can enter these places. “We have shut our gates and nobody without proper identification papers can enter,” said Haji Munawar Khan, who works as a manager in a local hotel. The International Crisis Group says the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Waziristan are being neglected in a climate of animosity between Pashtuns from the tribal belt and those from the settled areas. “Few efforts, local or international, have been made to identify their needs or to help them rebuild their homes, schools, shops and places of work once they return,” it said in a policy report published last week. “Most FATA (tribal belt) IDPs have not received adequate assistance or any compensation for the destruction of their properties and livelihoods.” The think-tank accused the military of not allowing camps for Waziristan IDPs on the “unjustifiable grounds that they would offer jihadi groups pools of easy recruits,” forcing Mehsuds to seek accommodation in private homes. “Host families have frequently faced harassment by the security agencies, including the military, paramilitary and police,” said the report. Cleaning the barrel of his gun with a handkerchief, Ghazanfar Ali, a private security guard, blamed lawlessness in his city on Afghans and the Taliban. “The Afghan refugees who migrated to Pakistan in 1980s started the law and order problems in our city and now it’s the Taliban,” Ali said, accusing the Taliban for all the attacks to have rocked the flashpoint city in recent years. Such attitudes infuriate Merajuddin Mehsud, who insists there is no reason for him to be tarred by association with the Islamist hardliners. “I found a house after roaming around for days but still the landlord wanted my national identity card and educational certificates of my son as a guarantee,” said the 45-year-old, who has four children.”We were fed up with the attitude of Taliban in South Waziristan and here it is police and the local population who are creating problems for us.”

Operation against only a handful of terrorists: COAS

[It's not a "war," it's crisis management of a few militants who want to write their own scripts.]

Operation against only a handful of terrorists: COAS

ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Sunday visited Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan Agency, to meet the field commanders and troops deployed in the area.

During the day-long visit, General Kayani appreciated the morale and spirit of the troops employed in the operation Rah-e-Nijat, said a press release of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). General Kayani made it clear that the Pakistan Army was not conducting operations against any tribe or area, but against a handful of terrorists who had not only destroyed peace and tribal traditions of the area but also held the majority of the people hostage to their anti-state agenda.

He reiterated that the operations against terrorists were being conducted by the armed forces without any outside support. On arrival in the area, General Kayani was received by the Corps Commander, Lieutenant General Muhammad Masood Aslam.

SSP (Sipah-e-Sahaba) Agitators Behind Anti-Christian Riots

Blind Faith

Extremist forces are inciting villagers in the Punjab to kill minorities in the name of religion.

By Adnan Adil

Talib Masih, a Christian street hawker and scrap dealer from a village near Gojra town, Toba Tek Singh, did not know that the wedding celebrations of his daughter would end in grim tragedy: six Christians were burnt alive by Muslims on blasphemy charges later that week. Incidentally, the charge of desecrating the Quran was levelled on a family in another Christian village, while the mob looted and destroyed a different Christian colony, located eight kilometres away from the site of the disputed incident.

The trouble began on July 25, 2009, when friends and family of Talib Masih had assembled to celebrate his daughter’s wedding ceremony in the village of Korian, about eight kilometres from Gojra city and 40km from Faisalabad. Korian has a large Christian community with nearly a hundred Christian families living in 60 houses in the village. Muslim friends of the family were also invited to the function. During the ceremony, some children started throwing pieces of paper in the air in a show of celebration. Ostensibly, some Muslims heard these papers were inscribed with verses from the Holy Quran and accused three Christians, namely Talib Masih, Mukhtar Masih and Imran Masih, of committing blasphemy.

Intriguingly, Muhammad Ashraf, the man who lodged a formal complaint with the police, is not even a resident of the village where the incident took place, and what’s more, he registered his complaint on the night of July 30, 2009 – five days after the alleged desecration took place. The burning incident took place on August 1.

Christian rights organisations maintain that on July 26, the day after the accusation was made, a meeting convened by the elders of the two communities, Christians and Muslims, had asked Talib Masih to offer an apology over the alleged desecration and that he had, indeed, apologised and the matter was resolved. However, enraged local Muslims tell a different story. In an FIR against Talib Masih, they say that a conciliatory meeting took place five days after the incident, on July 30, where Talib Masih had refused to apologise and abused the Muslims present at the meeting. They also claim that at this meeting Talib Masih had passed blasphemous remarks against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s sayings and the Quran. Independent observers, however, told the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) that a quarrel broke out at the meeting and the Muslims beat up Talib brutally and his wife and daughter had to come to his rescue.

On July 31, which was a Friday, announcements were made from the loudspeakers of local mosques in Korian and the nearby villages, asking the Muslims to assemble at Malkanwala Chowk in Gojra city on August 1, to take action against the Christians for committing blasphemy, which they said was punishable by death. Upon hearing this, most Christians in Korian fled their homes for safety.

After a couple of hours, Muslims arrived on the scene in groups, armed with clubs, firearms and kerosene oil, chanting slogans against Christians and began attacking their houses. First, they broke the electricity wires and water pumps to deprive the residents of the two basic necessities: electricity and water. This is a familiar pattern that was also observed in an earlier attack on Christians in Kasur, on July 1, 2009 in which more than a hundred Christian houses were burnt down in an organised manner. The mob in Korian reduced 57 houses to ashes, after looting valuables such as television sets, cattle and bicycles from the premises. The marauders also attacked two local churches and desecrated Christian religious books. The next day, the police registered a case against 21 arsonists who were identified by the Christian community and a few others.

It is widely alleged that a local cleric Qari Noor Muhammad, connected with a banned sectarian outfit, the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), played a leading role in inciting hostility against the Christians. The cleric was not arrested till after the Gojra carnage. As the tension built up, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif anticipating violence in Gojra, had alerted the police and intelligence agencies to ensure public safety. But when the mobs went on the rampage, the police looked the other way – a grim reminder of the civil agencies’ lack of capacity and willingness to handle sensitive and volatile situations, and the state’s inability to protect the citizens from organised and well-armed groups.

According to eyewitnesses, thousands of people, including clerics and local traders, gathered in Gojra as planned. Among them were activists of the SSP, who had travelled from their headquarters in the nearby Jhang district. The procession arrived at a Christian Colony, Chak 95-JB, which had nothing to do with the alleged desecration incident in the nearby Korian village. The police did not take any preventive measures to stop the hostile demonstration near a minority settlement at a time when tempers were running high.

Observers report that the Muslim protesters started pelting stones and stones at the Christians and burnt down the house of Riaz Masih, an old, ailing Christian who died of a heart attack soon after. Following this, the Christians too retaliated by throwing rocks and fired in the air to stop the armed men from marching towards their homes. A few Muslims also sustained injuries. Meanwhile, many Christians fled their homes for safety and some locked themselves inside their houses to protect themselves.

After a few hours, a mob of Muslims led by armed, masked men, assembled near the Christian colony and, using petrol and chemicals, set ablaze 68 Christan houses, burning six Christians alive, and shot dead Hameed Masih. The mob also looted valuables from the houses, desecrated copies of the Bible and ransacked two churches. The police, which was present, stood as silent spectators to the gory events. Initially, they even refused to register a case filed by the victims. It was only when the Christian community blocked the Multan-Faisalabad railway track for several hours and refused to remove the coffins of their dead from the track, that the FIR was registered. Later, the Punjab government deputed the Rangers to restore peace in Gojra and announced monetary compensation for the victims.

The Gojra carnage is not a solitary incident of its kind, it is symptomatic of the simmering tension between the two communities following grave acts of provocation against the Christians. In March 2009, a Christian woman lost her life in Gujranwala after a local church was attacked. In April 2009, a mob attacked another church and Christian houses in Karachi’s Taiser Town in which one young Christian man was killed and several others were injured in the firing. On June 30, 2009, a mob attacked Christian houses in the village of Bahmaniwala in Kasur district, destroying more than 50 houses, damaging furniture and household goods and stealing gold jewellery and cash from the premises.

This last incident of violence was triggered off when a Christian Sardar Masih, driving a tractor, asked a Muslim landlord, Chaudhry Muhammad Riaz, to remove his motorbike from the way to allow him to pass. When Riaz refused, a quarrel broke out between the two. Following the incident, announcements were made from mosques that Christians had committed blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), inciting the public to take action against the Christians of Bhamaniwala. Riaz also filed a criminal case with the police against 11 Christians. The next day, a group of angry men, wielding sticks and carrying petrol, attacked Christian homes. They burnt motorbikes belonging to the community and beat up every Christian they could find. The mob also attacked the local church with stones. No loss of life occurred, as most Christians had already fled their homes upon hearing of the planned attack. A Christian rights organisation, the National Commission for Justice and Peace, says a Christian woman suffered a miscarriage when she tried to save herself and a child.

A common thread runs through all the recent incidents of violence against the Christian community. The mobs are led mainly by members of the SSP, which is known to have links with the Taliban; the attacks are well-organised and planned well in advance and the attackers carry petrol and chemicals along, which gives an inkling of their nefarious designs.

It seems that after the army mounted pressure on the Taliban in Swat and the tribal areas, forcing them to retreat to the mountains, they have opened up a new front in the Punjab to create a law-and-order situation in order to divert the attention of the security forces from the tribal region. While jihad in Afghanistan and Kashmir has suffered a setback in recent years, those who were trained to carry out jihad in these areas have turned their guns on their own fellow citizens. Meanwhile, the country’s civil administration seems to have no clue of how to tackle this unfortunate situation.

Terror’s Training Ground

Terror’s Training Ground

By Ayesha Siddiqa

A few years ago, I met some young boys from my village near Bahawalpur who were preparing to go on jihad. They smirked politely when I asked them to close their eyes and imagine their future. “We can tell you without closing our eyes that we don’t see anything.”

It was not entirely surprising. South Punjab is a region mired in poverty and underdevelopment. There are few job prospects for the youth. While the government has built airports and a few hospitals, these projects are symbolic and barely meet the needs of the area. It’s in areas like this, amid economic stagnation and hopelessness, that religious extremists find fertile ground to plant and spread their ideology.

The first step is recruitment – and the methodology is straightforward. Young children, or even men, are taken to madrassas in nearby towns. They are fed well and kept in living conditions considerably better than what they are used to. This is a simple psychological strategy meant to help them compare their homes with the alternatives offered by militant organisations. The returning children, like the boys I met, then undergo ideological indoctrination in a madrassa. Those who are indoctrinated always bring more friends and family with them. It is a swelling cycle.

Madrassas nurturing armies of young Islamic militants ready to embrace martyrdom have been on the rise for years in the Punjab. In fact, South Punjab has become the hub of jihadism. Yet, somehow, there are still many people in Pakistan who refuse to acknowledge this threat.

Four major militant outfits, the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), are all comfortably ensconced in South Punjab (see article “Brothers in Arms”). Sources claim that there are about 5,000 to 9,000 youth from South Punjab fighting in Afghanistan and Waziristan. A renowned Pakistani researcher, Hassan Abbas cites a figure of 2,000 youth engaged in Waziristan. The area has become critical to planning, recruitment and logistical support for terrorist attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In fact, in his study on the Punjabi Taliban, Abbas has quoted Tariq Pervez, the chief of a new government outfit named the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NCTA), as saying that the jihad veterans in South Punjab are instrumental in providing the foot soldiers and implementing terror plans conceived and funded mainly by Al-Qaeda operatives. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that the force that conquered Khost in 1988-89 comprised numerous South Punjabi commanders who fought for the armies of various Afghan warlords such as Gulbuddin Hikmatyar and Burhanuddin Rabbani. Even now, all the four major organisations are involved in Afghanistan.

The above facts are not unknown to the provincial and federal governments or the army. It was not too long ago that the federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik equated South Punjab with Swat. The statement was negated by the IG Punjab. Perhaps, the senior police officer was not refuting his superior but challenging the story by Sabrina Tavernese of The New York Times (NYT). The story had highlighted jihadism in South Punjab, especially in Dera Ghazi Khan. The NYT story even drew a reaction from media outlets across the country. No one understood that South Punjab is being rightly equated with Swat, not because of violence but due to the presence of elements that aim at taking the society and state in another direction.

An English-language daily newspaper reacted to the NYT story by dispatching a journalist to South Punjab who wrote a series of articles that attempted to analyse the existing problem. One of the stories highlighted comments by the Bahawalpur Regional Police Officer (RPO) Mushtaq Sukhera, in which he denied that there was a threat of Talibanisation in South Punjab. He said that all such reports pertaining to South Punjab were nothing more than a figment of the western press’s imagination. Many others express a similar opinion. There are five explanations for this.

Firstly, opinion makers and policy makers are in a state of denial regarding the gravity of the problem. Additionally, they believe an overemphasis on this region might draw excessive US attention to South Punjab – an area epitomising mainstream Pakistan. Thus, it is difficult even to find anecdotal evidence regarding the activities of jihadis in this sub-region. We only gain some knowledge about the happenings from coincidental accidents like the blast that took place in a madrassa in Mian Chunoon, exposing the stockpile of arms its owner had stored on the premises.

Secondly, officer Sukhera and others like him do not see any threat because the Punjab-based outfits are “home-grown” and are not seen as directly connected to the war in Afghanistan. This is contestable on two counts: South Punjabi jihadists have been connected with the Afghan jihad since the 1980s and the majority is still engaged in fighting in Afghanistan.

Thirdly, since all these outfits were created by the ISI to support General Zia-ul-Haq’s Islamisation process, in essence to fight a proxy war for Saudi Arabia against Iran by targeting the Shia community, and later the Kashmir war, the officials feel comfortable that they will never spin out of control. Those that become uncontrollable, such as Al-Furqan, are then abandoned. This outfit was involved in the second assassination attempt on Musharraf and had initially broken away from the JeM after the leadership developed differences over assets, power and ideology. Thus, the district officials and intelligence agencies turned a blind eye to the killing of the district amir of Al-Furqan in Bahawalpur in May 2009. As far as the JeM is concerned, it continues its engagement with the establishment. In any case, groups that are partly committed to the Kashmir cause and confrontation with India continue to survive. This is certainly the perception about the LeT. But in reality, the Wahhabi outfit has also been engaged in other regions, such as the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Badakhshan since 2004.

Fourthly, there is confusion at the operational level in the government regarding the definition of Talibanisation, which is then reflected in the larger debate on the issue. Many, including the RPO, define the process as an effort by an armed group to use force to change the social conditioning in an area. Ostensibly, the militant outfits in the Punjab continue to coexist with the pirs, prostitutes and the drug mafia, and there is no reason that they will follow in the footsteps of Sufi Mohammad and Maulana Fazlullah, or Baitullah Mehsud. Since the authorities only recognise the pattern followed by the Afghan warlords or those in Pakistan’s tribal areas, they tend not to understand that what is happening in the Punjab may not be Talibanisation but could eventually prove to be as lethal as what they call Talibanisation.

Finally, many believe that Talibanisation cannot take place in a region known for practicing the Sufi version of Islam. There are many, besides the Bahawalpur RPO, who subscribe to the above theory. A year ago in an interview with an American channel, Farahnaz Ispahani, an MNA and wife of Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington, Husain Haqqani, stated that extremism couldn’t flourish in South Punjab because it was a land of Sufi shrines. This is partially true. The Sufi influence would work as a bulwark against this Talibanisation of society. However, Sufi Islam cannot fight poverty, underdevelopment and poor governance – all key factors that encourage Talibanisation.

South Punjab boasts names such as the Mazaris, Legharis and Gilanis, most of whom are not just politicians and big landowners but also belong to significant pir families. But they have done little to alleviate the sufferings of their constituents. A visit to Dera Ghazi Khan is depressing. Despite the fact that the division produced a president, Farooq Khan Leghari, the state of underdevelopment there is shocking. Reportedly, people living in the area in the immediate vicinity of the Leghari tribe could not sell their land without permission from the head of the tribe, the former president, who has been the tribal chief for many years. Under the circumstances, the poor and the dispossessed became attractive targets for militant outfits offering money. The country’s current economic downturn could raise the popularity of militant outfits.

In recent history, the gap created due to the non-performance of Sufi shrines and Barelvi Islam, or the exploitative nature of these institutions, has been filled partly by the Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith madrassa conversion teams and groups, such as the Tableeghi Jamaat, and militant outfits. This alternative, unfortunately, is equally exploitative in nature. Sadly, today the shrines and Barelvi Islam have little to offer in terms of “marketing” to counter the package deal offered by the Salafists for the life hereafter, especially to a shaheed: 70 hoors (virgins), a queen hoor (virgin queen), a crown of jewels and forgiveness for 70 additional people. This promise means a lot for the poor youth who cannot hope for any change in a pre-capitalist socio-economic and political environment, where power is hard to re-negotiate. Furthermore, as stated by the former information minister Mohammad Ali Durrani, who had been a jihadi from 1984-90, a poor youth suddenly turning into a jihadi commander is a tremendous story of social mobility and recognition that he would never get in his existing socio-economic system. More importantly, the Deobandis and Ahl-e-Hadith offer a textual basis for their package, which is difficult for the pirs to refute due to the lack of an internal religious discourse in the Islamic world. The modern generation of pirs has not engaged in an internal discourse to counter this ideological onslaught by the Salafis. The main belief of Salafism is that all Muslims should practice Islam as it was during the time of Prophet Muhammad. The religion at that time, according to them, was perfect. Salafism – which pre-dates Wahhabism – is often used interchangeably with Wahhabism, which is actually an extension of Salafism.

Punjab offers a different pattern of extremism and jihadism. The pattern is closer to what one saw in Swat, where Sufi Mohammad and his TNSM spent quite a few years indoctrinating the society and building up a social movement before they got embroiled in a conflict with the state. South Punjab’s story is, in a sense, like Swat’s in that there is a gradual strengthening of Salafism and a build-up of militancy in the area. The procedure of conversion though, dates back to pre-1947. Still, the 1980s were clearly a watershed, when both rabid ideology and jihad were introduced to the area. Zia-ul-Haq encouraged the opening up of religious seminaries that, unlike the more traditional madrassas that were usually attached with Sufi shrines, subscribed to Salafi ideology. In later years, South Punjab became critical to inducting people for the Kashmir jihad. The ascendancy of the Tableeghi Jamaat and such madrassas that presented a more rabid version of religion gradually prepared the ground for later invasion by the militant groups. Two reports prepared around 1994, firstly by the district collector Bahawalpur and later by the Punjab government, highlighted the exponential rise in the number of madrassas and how these fanned sectarian and ideological hatred in the province. These reports also stated that all of these seminaries were provided funding by the government through the zakat fund.

The number of seminaries had increased during and after the 1980s. According to a 1996 report, there were 883 madrassas in Bahawalpur, 361 in Dera Ghazi Khan, 325 in Multan and 149 in Sargodha district. The madrassas in Bahawalpur outnumbered all other cities, including Lahore. These numbers relate to Deobandi madrassas only and do not include the Ahl-e-Hadith, Barelvi and other sects. Newer estimates from the intelligence bureau for 2008 show approximately 1,383 madrassas in the Bahawalpur division that house 84,000 students. Although the highest number of madrassas is in Rahim Yar Khan district (559) followed by Bahawalpur (481) and Bahawalnagar (310), it is Bahawalpur in which the highest number of students (36,000) is enlisted. The total number of madrassa students in Pakistan has reached about one million.

Everyone has been so focused on FATA and the NWFP that they failed to notice the huge increase in religious seminaries in these districts of South Punjab. According to a study conducted by historian Tahir Kamran, the total number of madrassas in the Punjab rose from 1,320 in 1988 to 3,153 in 2000, an increase of almost 140%. These madrassas were meant to provide a rapid supply of jihadis to the Afghan war of the 1980s. At the time of 9/11, the Bahawalpur division alone could boast of approximately 15,000-20,000 trained militants, some of whom had resettled in their areas during the period that Musharraf claimed to have clamped down on the jihad industry. Many went into the education sector, opened private schools and even joined the media.

These madrassas play three essential roles. First, they convert people to Salafism and neutralise resistance to a more rabid interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah in society. Consequently, the majority of the Barelvis cannot present a logical resistance to the opposing ideology. In many instances, the Barelvis themselves get converted to the idea of jihad. Secondly, these madrassas are used to train youth, who are then inducted into jihad. Most of the foot soldiers come from the religious seminaries. One of the principles taught to the students pertains to the concept of jihad as being a sacred duty that has to continue until the end of a Muslim’s life or the end of the world. Lastly, madrassas are an essential transit point for the youth, who are recruited from government schools. They are usually put through the conversion process after they have attended a 21-day initial training programme in the Frontier province or Kashmir (see box “A Different Breed”).

State support, which follows two distinct tracks, is also instrumental in the growth of jihadism in this region. On the one hand, there has generally been a link or understanding between political parties and militant groups. Since political parties are unable to eliminate militants or most politicians are sympathetic towards the militants, they tend to curb their activities through political deal-making. The understanding between the SSP and Benazir Bhutto after the 1993 elections, or the alleged deal between the PML-N and the SSP during the 2008 elections, denote the relationship between major political parties and the jihadis. Currently, the SSP in South Punjab is more supportive of the PML-N.

The second track involves operational links between the outfits and the state’s intelligence apparatus. As mentioned earlier, some of the outfits claim to have received training from the country’s intelligence agencies. Even now, local people talk of truckloads of weapons arriving at the doorstep of the JeM headquarters and other sites in the middle of the night. While official sources continue to claim that the outfit was banned and does not exist, or that Masood Azhar is on the run from his hometown of Bahawalpur, the facts prove otherwise. For instance, the outfit continues to acquire real estate in the area, such as a new site near Chowk Azam in Bahawalpur, which many believe is being used as a training site. Although the new police chief has put restraints on the JeM and disallowed it from constructing on the site, the outfit continues to appropriate more land around the area. Junior police officials even claim seeing tunnels being dug inside the premises. The new facility is on the bank of the Lahore-Karachi national highway, which means that in the event of a crisis, the JeM could block the road as has happened in Kohat and elsewhere. Furthermore, the outfit’s main headquarters in the city is guarded by AK-47-armed men who harass any journalist trying to take a photograph of the building. In one instance, even a police official was shooed away and later intimidated by spooks of an intelligence agency for spying on the outfit. Despite the claim that the SSP, the LeJ and the JeM have broken ties with intelligence agencies and are now fighting the army in Waziristan, the fact remains that their presence in the towns of South Punjab continues unhindered.

Is it naivety and inefficiency on the part of officialdom or a deliberate effort to withhold information? The government claims that Maulana Masood Azhar has not visited his hometown in the last three years. But he held a massive book launch of his new publication Fatah-ul-Jawad: Quranic Verses on Jihad, on April 28, 2008, in Bahawalpur. Moreover, JeM’s armed men manned all entrances and exits to the city that day – and there was no police force in sight. The ISI is said to have severed its links with the JeM for assisting the Pashtoon Taliban in inciting violence in the country. Sources from FATA claim, however, that the JeM, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) and LeT are suspected by the Taliban for their links with state agencies.

In addition, intelligence agencies reportedly ward off anyone attempting to probe into the affairs of these outfits. In one case, a local in Bahawalpur city invoked daily visits from a certain agency after he assisted a foreign journalist. Similarly, only six months back, a BBC team was chased out of the area by agency officials. In fact, intelligence officials, who had forgotten about my existence since my last book was published, revisited my village in South Punjab soon after I began writing on militancy in the area and have gone to the extent of planting a story in one of the Urdu newspapers to malign me in my own area. In any case, no serious operation was conducted against these outfits after the Mumbai attacks and the recent spate of violence in the country. Hence, all of them continue to survive.

The Deobandi outfits are not the only ones popular in South Punjab. Ahl-e-Hadith/Wahhabi organisations such as the Tehreek-ul-Mujahidden (TuM) and the LeT also have a following in the region. While TuM, which is relatively a smaller organisation, has support in Dera Ghazi Khan, the LeT is popular in Bahawalpur, Multan and the areas bordering Central Punjab. Headquartered in Muridke, the LeT is popular among the Punjabi and Urdu-speaking Mohajir settlers.

There are obvious sociological reasons for LeT’s relative popularity among these people. The majority of this population represents either the lower-middle-class farmers or middle-class trader-merchants. The middle class is instrumental in providing funding to these outfits. And the support is not confined to South Punjab alone. In fact, middle-class trader-merchants from other parts of the Punjab also feed jihad through their funding. This does not mean that there are no Seraiki speakers in Wahhabi organisations but just that the dominant influence is that of the Punjabis and Mohajirs. The Seraiki-speaking population is mostly associated with the SSP, LeJ and JeM, not to mention the freelancing jihadis that have direct links with the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP).

The LeT’s presence in South Punjab is far more obvious than others courtesy of the wall chalkings and social work by its sister outfit, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa. Despite the rumours of friction between the LeT and the JuD leadership, the two segments operate in unison in South Punjab. Three of the favourite areas of recruitment in South Punjab for all outfits are Cholistan in Bahawalpur, the Rekh in Dera Ghazi Khan, and the Kacha area in Rajanpur. The first two are desert areas known for their poverty and underdevelopment, while the third is known for dacoits. However, another known feature of Kacha in Rajanpur is that the clerics of the Lal Masjid come from this area and have partly managed to push back the dacoits. Local sources claim that the influence of the clerics has increased since they started receiving cooperation from the police to jointly fight the dacoits.

Organisations such as the LeT have even begun to recruit women in the Punjab. These women undergo 21 days of ideological and military training. The goal is to ensure that these women will be able to fight if their menfolk are out on jihad and an enemy attacks Pakistan.

The militant outfits are rich, both ideologically and materially. They have ample financial resources that flow from four distinct sources: official sources (in some cases); Middle Eastern and Gulf states (not necessarily official channels); donations; and the Punjabi middle class, which is predominantly engaged in funding both madrassas and jihad for social, moral and political ends. With regard to donations, the militant outfits are extremely responsive to the changing environment and have adapted their money-collection tactics. Gone are the days of money-collection boxes. Now, especially in villages, followers are asked to raise money by selling harvested crops. And in terms of the Punjabi middle class, there are traders in Islamabad and other smaller urban centres that contribute regularly to the cause. These trader-merchants and upcoming entrepreneurs see donations to these outfits as a source of atonement for their sins. In Tahir Kamran’s study “Deobandiism in the Punjab,” Deobandiism (and Wahhabiism) is an urban phenomenon. If so, then the existence of these militant outfits in rural Punjab indicates a new social trend. Perhaps, due to greater access to technology (mobiles, television sets, satellite receivers, etc), the landscape (and rustic lifestyles) of Punjab’s rural areas has changed. There is an unplanned urbanisation of the rural areas due to the emergence of small towns with no social development, health and education infrastructure. Socially and politically, there is a gap that is filled by these militant outfits or related ideological institutions.

Fortunately, they have not succeeded in changing the lifestyles of the ordinary people. This is perhaps because there are multiple cultural strands that do not allow the jihadis to impose their norms the way they have in the tribal areas or the Frontier province. This is not to say that there is no threat from them in South Punjab: the liberalism and multi-polarity of society is certainly at risk. The threat is posed by the religious seminaries and the new recruits for jihad, who change social norms slowly and gradually. Sadly nothing, including the powerful political system of the area, which in any case is extremely warped, helps ward off the threat of extremism and jihadism. Ultimately, South Punjab could fall prey to the myopia of its ruling elite.

So how does the state and society deal with this issue?

Deploying the military is not an option. In the Punjab this will create a division within the powerful army because of regional loyalty. The foremost task is to examine the nature of the state’s relationship with the militants as strategic partners: should this relationship continue to exist to the detriment of the state? Once this mystifying question is resolved, all militant forces can be dealt with through an integrated police-intelligence operation.

This, however, amounts to winning only half the battle. The other half deals with the basic problems faced by the likes of those young jihadis-in-training from Bahawalpur who said, “We don’t see anything” in our futures. Presently, there is hardly any industrialisation in South Punjab and the mainstay of the area, agriculture, is faltering. The region requires economic strengthening: new ideas in agriculture, capital investment and new, relevant industries. This is the time that the government must plan beyond the usual textile and sugar industries that have arguably turned into huge mafias that are draining the local economy rather than feeding it.

Investment in social development is desperately needed. A larger social infrastructure that provides jobs and an educational system that is responsive to the needs of the population can contribute to filling the gaps. The message of militancy is quite potent, especially in terms of the dreams it sells to the youth, such as those disillusioned boys from my village. Jihad elevates youngsters from a state of being dispossessed to an imagined exalted status. They visualise themselves taking their places among great historical figures such as Mohammad bin Qasim and Khalid bin Waleed. It is these dreams for which the state must provide an alternative.

The Two Faces of Jihad

The Two Faces of Jihad

Militants from South Punjab tend to be better educated and more ruthless than those from the NWFP.

By Ayesha Siddiqa

The Punjabi jihadis are different from their counterparts in FATA: the former are comparatively more educated. There are many, such as Maulana Masood Azhar, who were educated in the Banuri town madrassa in Karachi and completed their dars-e-nizami – an eight-year course in religious ideology that inculcates the significance of jihad in the pupil. There is a constant flow of students from religious seminaries in South Punjab to Karachi. There are also those who have a secular education and are given responsibility for further education or conversion, and not just jihad. Additionally, there is also a reverse flow of militant religious scholars from South Punjab to other parts of the country. A prime example is Lal Masjid’s Maulana Abdul Aziz Ghazi and his wife, who hail from Dera Ghazi Khan.

Besides being relatively more educated, the Punjabi jihadis are also distinguishable from the Pashtoon jihadis in terms of their style of fighting. A lot of the fidayeen (suicide bombers) come from the Punjab and are reputed to be much more brutal in their handling of victims. Frontier Governor Owais Ghani says some of the more ferocious commanders of the Taliban forces in Waziristan and Swat are South Punjabi jihadis and are much more difficult to crack than their Pashtoon counterparts. They have no emotional ties with people up north, he states, and are mainly ideology-driven, just like their Arab and Uzbek brothers-in-arms. So, as one freelancing jihadi confided, Uzbeks chop off a victim’s head with extreme precision and fight with an enviable commitment. The Punjabi jihadis want to avenge the rape of Muslim women in Chechnya, Bosnia, Palestine, Kashmir and Afghanistan by waging a war against non-Muslims. Militant groups show films of the killing of Muslims in these conflict zones and the rape of women to draw potential warriors. The preachers assure the fighters that a holy war is not only sanctioned by Islam but is a must for every able-bodied Muslim male.

So, it does not really matter that the territories mentioned above are not connected with the immediate social reality of the fighters. Unlike the Pashtoons, the South Punjabis are not motivated to wage war because they have lost one of their own in the war on terror. Instead, they are willing to give up their lives (or offer others in their family) because they are highly motivated about higher, selfless causes. Jihad provides an immediate sense of empowerment to people who now begin to see themselves as being capable of helping helpless women in far away lands. Those who are sent are even given Arab names to inculcate in them a sense of history.

E-mail: newsline@cyber.net.pk

Bulgaria, Romania: U.S., NATO Bases For War In The East

Bulgaria, Romania: U.S., NATO Bases For War In The East

Written by Rick Rozoff

NATOU.S. efforts in Romania and Bulgaria are part of a global redeployment strategy started in the early years of the Bush administration to shift U.S. forces out of Germany and move them eastward.”

“The number of US military men at the two bases is not going to be large, but who can say that it will not be doubled, tripped or quadrupled in the future? Furthermore, the appearance of NATO bases on the Black Sea coast will come as an addition to the US military [deployments] in the Baltic region. As a result, Russia will find itself trapped.”

“[T]he new land, sea and airbases along the Black Sea will provide much improved contingency access for deployments into Central Asia, parts of the Middle East and Southwest Asia.”

Last week was an eventful one in Eastern Europe.

The two top foreign policy veterans in the current U.S. administration, Vice President Joseph Biden and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, visited the capitals of Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia. Biden was in Warsaw, Prague and Bucharest to recruit all three nations into the new U.S.-led, NATO-wide interceptor missile system and to make arrangements for the deployment of American Patriot missiles and troops to Poland, the first foreign soldiers to be based in that nation since the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact eighteen years ago.

Gates was in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, for a two-day meeting of NATO and partner states’ defense chiefs which also focused on the establishment of a missile shield to encompass the entire European continent as well as the unparalleled escalation of the U.S.’s and NATO’s war in Afghanistan.

A few days earlier the U.S. armed forces publication Stars and Stripes announced that the Pentagon will spend an additional $110 million to upgrade two of the seven military bases in Bulgaria and Romania it acquired the use of in agreements signed in 2005 and 2006.

The report led to political fallout in the two host countries with Bulgarian and Romanian officials scrambling to qualify the news and pretend that somehow their own subservient governments would retain control over the expanded bases. Sofia and Bucharest have no more say in how the Pentagon and NATO have used and will intensify the use of air fields and other bases in their nations than they do in determining which war zones their nations’ troops are deployed to, which of late include Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.  (read here)

The Virtues of Deglobalization

The Virtues of Deglobalization

Written by Walden Bello

globalizationThe current global downturn, the worst since the Great Depression 70 years ago, pounded the last nail into the coffin of globalization. Already beleaguered by evidence that showed global poverty and inequality increasing, even as most poor countries experienced little or no economic growth, globalization has been terminally discredited in the last two years. As the much-heralded process of financial and trade interdependence went into reverse, it became the transmission belt not of prosperity but of economic crisis and collapse.

End of an Era
In their responses to the current economic crisis, governments paid lip service to global coordination but propelled separate stimulus programs meant to rev up national markets. In so doing, governments quietly shelved export-oriented growth, long the driver of many economies, though paid the usual nostrums to advancing trade liberalization as a means of countering the global downturn by completing the Doha Round of trade negotiations under the World Trade Organization. There is increasing acknowledgment that there will be no returning to a world centrally dependent on free-spending American consumers, since many are bankrupt and nobody has taken their place.
Moreover, whether agreed on internationally or unilaterally set up by national governments, a whole raft of restrictions will almost certainly be imposed on finance capital, the untrammeled mobility of which has been the cutting edge of the current crisis.
Intellectual discourse, however, hasn’t yet shown many signs of this break with orthodoxy. Neoliberalism, with its emphasis on free trade, the primacy of private enterprise, and a minimalist role for the state, continues to be the default language among policymakers. Establishment critics of market fundamentalism, including Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, have become entangled in endless debates over how large stimulus programs should be, and whether or not the state should retain an interventionist presence or, once stabilized, return the companies and banks to the private sector. Moreover some, such as Stiglitz, continue to believe in what they perceive to be the economic benefits of globalization while bemoaning its social costs.
But trends are fast outpacing both ideologues and critics of neoliberal globalization, and developments thought impossible a few years ago are gaining steam. “The integration of the world economy is in retreat on almost every front,” writes the Economist. While the magazine says that corporations continue to believe in the efficiency of global supply chains, “like any chain, these are only as strong as their weakest link. A danger point will come if firms decide that this way of organizing production has had its day.”
“Deglobalization,” a term that the Economist attributes to me, is a development that the magazine, the world’s prime avatar of free market ideology, views as negative. I believe, however, that deglobalization is an opportunity. Indeed, my colleagues and I at Focus on the Global South first forwarded deglobalization as a comprehensive paradigm to replace neoliberal globalization almost a decade ago, when the stresses, strains, and contradictions brought about by the latter had become painfully evident. Elaborated as an alternative mainly for developing countries, the deglobalization paradigm is not without relevance to the central capitalist economies.
11 Pillars of the Alternative
There are 11 key prongs of the deglobalization paradigm:
Production for the domestic market must again become the center of gravity of the economy rather than production for export markets.
The principle of subsidiarity should be enshrined in economic life by encouraging production of goods at the level of the community and at the national level if this can be done at reasonable cost in order to preserve community.
Trade policy — that is, quotas and tariffs — should be used to protect the local economy from destruction by corporate-subsidized commodities with artificially low prices.
Industrial policy — including subsidies, tariffs, and trade — should be used to revitalize and strengthen the manufacturing sector.
Long-postponed measures of equitable income redistribution and land redistribution (including urban land reform) can create a vibrant internal market that would serve as the anchor of the economy and produce local financial resources for investment.
Deemphasizing growth, emphasizing upgrading the quality of life, and maximizing equity will reduce environmental disequilibrium.
The development and diffusion of environmentally congenial technology in both agriculture and industry should be encouraged.
Strategic economic decisions cannot be left to the market or to technocrats. Instead, the scope of democratic decision-making in the economy should be expanded so that all vital questions — such as which industries to develop or phase out, what proportion of the government budget to devote to agriculture, etc. — become subject to democratic discussion and choice.
Civil society must constantly monitor and supervise the private sector and the state, a process that should be institutionalized.
The property complex should be transformed into a “mixed economy” that includes community cooperatives, private enterprises, and state enterprises, and excludes transnational corporations.
Centralized global institutions like the IMF and the World Bank should be replaced with regional institutions built not on free trade and capital mobility but on principles of cooperation that, to use the words of Hugo Chavez in describing the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), “transcend the logic of capitalism.”
From the Cult of Efficiency to Effective Economics
The aim of the deglobalization paradigm is to move beyond the economics of narrow efficiency, in which the key criterion is the reduction of unit cost, never mind the social and ecological destabilization this process brings about. It is to move beyond a system of economic calculation that, in the words of John Maynard Keynes, made “the whole conduct of life…into a paradox of an accountant’s nightmare.” An effective economics, rather, strengthens social solidarity by subordinating the operations of the market to the values of equity, justice, and community by enlarging the sphere of democratic decision making. To use the language of the great Hungarian thinker Karl Polanyi in his book The Great Transformation, deglobalization is about “re-embedding” the economy in society, instead of having society driven by the economy.
The deglobalization paradigm also asserts that a “one size fits all” model like neoliberalism or centralized bureaucratic socialism is dysfunctional and destabilizing. Instead, diversity should be expected and encouraged, as it is in nature. Shared principles of alternative economics do exist, and they have already substantially emerged in the struggle against and critical reflection over the failure of centralized socialism and capitalism. However, how these principles — the most important of which have been sketched out above — are concretely articulated will depend on the values, rhythms, and strategic choices of each society.
Deglobalization’s Pedigree
Though it may sound radical, deglobalization isn’t really new. Its pedigree includes the writings of the towering British economist Keynes who, at the height of the Depression, bluntly stated: “We do not wish…to be at the mercy of world forces working out, or trying to work out, some uniform equilibrium, according to the principles of laissez faire capitalism.”
Indeed, he continued, over “an increasingly wide range of industrial products, and perhaps agricultural products also, I become doubtful whether the economic cost of self-sufficiency is great enough to outweigh the other advantages of gradually bringing the producer and the consumer within the ambit of the same national, economic and financial organization. Experience accumulates to prove that most modern mass-production processes can be performed in most countries and climates with almost equal efficiency.”
And with words that have a very contemporary ring, Keynes concluded, “I sympathize…with those who would minimize rather than with those who would maximize economic entanglement between nations. Ideas, knowledge, art, hospitality, travel — these are the things which should of their nature be international. But let goods be homespun whenever it is reasonably and conveniently possible; and, above all, let finance be primarily national.”
Walden Bello is a Foreign Policy in Focus columnist and member of the House of Representatives of the Philippines and senior analyst at the Bangkok-based research and advocacy institute Focus on the Global South.

Foreign Policy in Focus – 2009-09-03

Protestors’ Denial of Rights and Excessive Force Charges Finally Come to Trial

Civil trial from protest delayed

Court: Complaint alleges police, Olympia violated rights while clearing way for military equipment

 

The first civil trial arising from the Port of Olympia protests two years ago won’t begin today, the result of a scheduling conflict.

The trial, prompted by a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma by William Hamilton and Larry Mosqueda, will begin Tuesday at the earliest. They claim that the city and Olympia police officers violated their civil rights as part of efforts to clear the roads of protesters so military equipment could be returned to Fort Lewis.

The jury trial had been scheduled to begin today. It was delayed because U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan, who will preside over the proceeding, is the jurist on another case scheduled to go to trial today.

The attorneys for both sides have asked Bryan to set a firm trial date if Tuesday is unavailable.

Hamilton alleges that three officers pepper-sprayed him even though he was demonstrating in a “safe area” that at least one city employee had designated near the protest site Nov. 10. He alleged that the next day, two officers struck him with batons and two others hit him with pepper-spray projectiles as he attempted to use the crosswalk at Franklin and Market streets, ground zero for the encounters between protesters and law enforcement.

Mosqueda alleged he was hit with pepper spray Nov. 10 during a protest at Fourth Avenue and Plum Street.

In an earlier ruling, Bryan allowed several of the plaintiffs’ claims to go forward.

Neither man was arrested.

The jury will decide whether the city’s actions violated the plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful seizure through the use of excessive force, as well as their First Amendment right to free speech. The plaintiffs claim the city followed through on an official policy to use force on war protesters to chill their free-speech rights, and to use pepper spray and other chemicals to move people who did not present an immediate threat to anyone’s safety.

The jury also will determine whether the six officers violated Hamilton’s First and Fourth amendment rights. Bryan has dismissed Mosqueda’s First and Fourth amendment claims because Mosqueda wasn’t able to identify the officer who sprayed him.

Lastly, the jury will decide whether the defendants committed battery and negligence under state law in their dealings with Hamilton. Mosqueda’s claims were dismissed because he couldn’t identify the officer.

The city and officers deny the allegations. They contend Hamilton was not pepper-sprayed but felt the effects of the chemical directed at someone else. They also argue that the officers took the actions against Hamilton the following day as he tried to bully his way through a police cordon. They say Mosqueda refused to comply with the officer’s orders and obstructed attempts to bring an unruly crowd under control.

Both plaintiffs, the six officers and Olympia Police Chief Gary Michel are expected to testify.

Hamilton and Mosqueda seek damages to be determined by the jury.

Christian Hill: 360-754-5427

chill@theolympian.com

Punjabis here, Pusthtuns there, Taliban everywhere

Punjabis here, Pusthtuns there, Taliban everywhere

Sunday 25 October 2009

Preliminary investigations by the Pakistani authorities indicate that the terrorists who had targeted the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi on October 10, 2009 and those involved in the October 15, 2009 multiple terrorist attacks in Lahore at three different places were in fact Punjabi Taliban belonging to at least three Sunni Deobandi sectarian-cum-jihadi organisations which are working in tandem with the Pashtun-dominated South Waziristan-based Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to carry out joint terrorist operations in almost every nook and corner of the country.

The GHQ attack has not only highlighted the growing threat from the Waziristan-based Pashtun Taliban, but also from the Punjabi Taliban. As a matter of fact, Aqeel alias Dr Usman, the ring leader of the GHQ attackers, too happens to be a Punjabi Taliban from the Kahuta area of Rawalpindi who had been affiliated with the Army Medical Corps till 2006. According to his interrogators, in the aftermath of the July 2007 Lal Masjid operation in the heart of Islamabad, Aqeel and several other hardcore jihadi elements floated a new organisation by the name of Tehrik-e-Taliban Punjab, which is currently led by one Farooq Bhai, who had been affiliated with the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the Jaish-e-Mohammad in the past. The two organisations of the Punjabi and the Pashtun Taliban reportedly share a Sunni-Deobandi ideology and a common objective to wage jihad against the Pakistan Army which is siding with the forces of the infidel in the ongoing war against terror. The Punjabi-Pashtun nexus of the two Taliban organisations reportedly share each other’s religious seminaries, training facilities, sanctuaries as well as jihadi cadres to carry out terrorist operations across Pakistan. However, the terrorist activities of Tehrik-e-Taliban Punjab have so far been limited to the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad as well as Lahore.

Much before the TTP henchmen targeted the GHQ building the Pakistani intelligence agencies had informed the government that some of the southern Punjab-based banned militant-cum-sectarian groups were gaining military strength, especially after joining hands with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. As per the intelligence information, several activists of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) and the Harkatul Jihadul Islami (HUJI), who had taken part in the Afghan jihad, have tied up with the TTP to carry out terrorist operations against important government and security installations. The facilitators of the terrorists who targeted the provincial headquarters of the Inter Services Intelligence and the Federal Investigation Agency in Lahore recently, besides attacking the training facilities of the Punjab police as well as the Sri Lankan cricket team were all Punjabi Taliban.

South Punjab actually grabbed the attention of the intelligence agencies over the past couple of years due to involvement of the Punjabi Taliban who were arrested from different parts of the province after a spate of terrorist attacks targeting the country’s security and intelligence establishment. However, two years down the road since then, the growing power of the Punjabi Taliban poses a serious threat. While Punjab has been the hub of religious extremism and radical Islamists for long, it is the southern part of Punjab, also known as the Seraiki region, which faces the most threat serious of Talibanisation. Investigators believe local militant groups in Punjab provide logistical support and human resource to the Pashtun Taliban for carrying out their terrorist operations in Punjab.

Initially made up largely of Pashtuns, the Taliban movement in Pakistan is now largely dominated by Punjabi militant groups created by the Pakistani military and intelligence establishment with a view to ’liberate’ Jammu and Kashmir. However, like Frankenstein’s monster, these jihadi groups, which are mostly based in Punjab, have joined hands with the Taliban and al-Qaeda to take on their creator. With a population of approximately 27 million, South Punjab comprises 13 districts: Multan, Bahawalpur, Rahimyar Khan, Jhang, Layyah, Lodhran, Khanewal, Muzaffargarh, Bahawalnagar, Rajanpur, Bhakkar, Vehari and Dera Ghazi Khan. The investigators believe that local militant groups in Punjab provide logistical support and human resource to the Pashtun Taliban for carrying out their terrorist operations in Punjab. But fresh recruits for most of the Sunni Deobandi sectarian-cum-militant jihadi groups come from the religious seminaries of Jhang, Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur and Muzaffargarh.

Once indoctrinated at these religious seminaries, the young madrassa students from Punjab are taken to the terrorist training camps in the country’s Pashtun tribal belt. According to rough estimates, over five thousand youngsters from the religious seminaries of southern and northern Punjab Province have reportedly moved to South and North Waziristan in the backdrop of the Lal Masjid operation. Once they completed their military training, these youngsters eventually proved themselves to be valuable partners for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, keeping in view their first hand knowledge of the important urban centres of Punjab, such as Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. These very elements have apparently let loose a reign of terror in both the federal capital Islamabad and the provincial capital Lahore by launching unprecedented fidayeen attacks on key military and police installations.

Despite reports regarding the existence of Tehrik-e-Taliban Punjab, analysts say the existing network of the Punjabi Taliban lacks any organisation or command structure and operates as a loose network of elements from distinct jihadi and sectarian organisations, including Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) led by Maulana Mohammad Ahmed Ludhianvi, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) currently led by Qari Mohammad Zafar, Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) led by Maulana Masood Azhar, Jamaatul Furqan, the splinter group of the Jaish, led by Maulana Abdul Jabbar and both the Azad Kashmir and the Pakistan chapters of the Harkatul Jihadul Islami (HUJI), led by Commander Ilyas Kashmiri and Qari Saifullah Akhtar respectively. They further believe that the purpose of undertaking terrorist operations under the name of the Punjabi Taliban is to have the freedom to operate without the level of command and control inherent when working for the more established militant outfits.

A careful scrutiny of newspaper files show that the term Punjabi Taliban was first used for ethnic Punjabis affiliated with the Harkatul Jihadul Islami of Qari Saifullah Akhtar, once he had reached Kandahar along with his fellow jihadis after being freed by the Pakistani authorities, following the dismissal of the second Bhutto government in November 1996. Qari had been arrested for plotting to take over the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi during the Corps Commanders Conference and later overthrow the Benazir government to eventually enforce their own brand of Islamic Shariah in Pakistan. However, after the dismissal of the Bhutto government, Qari Saifullah Akhtar was released. He went to Afghanistan and was inducted into the cabinet of the Taliban Ameer Mullah Mohammad Omar as his advisor on political affairs.

Once in Afghanistan, the militants of Qari’s HUJI were called Punjabi Taliban and offered employment, something that other jihadi organisations could not get from Mullah Omar. Interestingly, three ministers in the Taliban regime and 22 judges of the superior courts also belonged to the HUJI, whose militants are known to have supported Mullah Omar in difficult times. At least 300 HUJI militants lost their lives while fighting the Northern Alliance troops, prompting Mullah Omar to give HUJI the permission to build six more training camps in Kandahar, Kabul and Khost, where the Taliban army also used to receive military training. Before the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent invasion ofAfghanistan, the HUJI had branch offices in 40 districts across Pakistan. While funds were collected from these grass-root offices and from foreign sources, the Harkat had accounts in two branches of the Allied Bank in Islamabad.

While HUJI’s Pakistan chapter is led by Qari Saifullah Akhtar, its Azad Kashmir chapter is autonomous and headed by Commander Ilyas Kashmiri, a veteran of the Kashmir jihad who is considered to be one of the most dangerous al-Qaeda-linked Pakistani commanders. No. 4 on the Pakistani Interior Ministry’s Most Wanted list, Kashmiri had spent several years in an Indian jail before escaping. He was then arrested by the Pakistani authorities following the December 2003 twin suicide attacks on General Musharraf’s presidential cavalcade in Rawalpindi. However, Kashmiri was set free in February 2004 on the intervention of the United Jihad Council’s chief, Syed Salahuddin. He later shifted base to the North Waziristan region on the Pak-Afghan tribal belt and joined hands with Commander Baitullah Mehsud.

Having switched from the freedom struggle in Jammu and Kashmir to the Taliban-led resistance against the NATO forces in Afghanistan, Kashmiri established a training camp in the Razmak area of Waziristan and shifted most of his warriors from his Kotli training camp in Azad Kashmir. In May 2009, Kashmiri was accused of plotting the assassination of Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani, in collusion with al-Qaeda. In September 2009, Kashmiri was reportedly killed in a US predator strike in South Waziristan but he reappeared almost a month later in October to belie official claims of his death, besides vowing retribution against the US and its proxies. As things stand, both the Punjabi Taliban leaders of the HUJI — Ilyas Kashmiri and Saifullah Akhtar — are reportedly operating from South Waziristan and carrying out joint terrorist operations in Punjab with the help of their fellow militants from Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

amir.mir1969@gmail.com

Israeli President: We are buying up Manhattan, Hungary, Romania and Poland

On the 10th of October, 2007, at Hotel Hilton in Tel-Aviv, Israeli President Shimon Peres stated the following: “We are buying up Manhattan, Hungary, Romania and Poland.”Link: http://nrg.co.il/onl…

Israeli President: We are buying up Manhattan, Hungary, Romania and Poland

On the 10th of October, 2007, at Hotel Hilton in Tel-Aviv, Israeli President Shimon Peres stated the following: “We are buying up Manhattan, Hungary, Romania and Poland.”Link: http://nrg.co.il/onl…